UK cable group ntl has agreed a £1.27bn deal to sell its television masts business to a consortium led by Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group, in which Australia's Macquarie Bank has a major stake.
The sale is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2005. ntl chief executive Simon Duffy said the sale "will enable us to focus on continuing our core cable and broadband business".
The company said it was still to decide how to spend the proceeds. Alternatives include a special dividend to shareholders as well as a possible share buy-back scheme. Cash could also be used to repay debt.
Duffy added: "Macquarie Communications Group (MCG) has been an excellent owner of a similar business we sold to them in Australia in 2002 and I am sure that they will prove to be an equally good owner of our UK Broadcast business.
"The 2002 transaction has proved to be highly beneficial to both MCG and ntl and I am confident that the transaction we are announcing today will prove to be just as successful for both parties."
The broadcast business provides tower site leasing, broadcast transmission, satellite, media, public safety communications and other network services in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Lovelacemedia | 02.12.2004